Right Opinion

No Room for Waffling on Planned Parenthood Funding

Tony Perkins · Apr. 19, 2017

In a flip-flop heard around the world, Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) declared at a town hall meeting Monday: “I have no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood,” the nation’s largest seller of abortions. But when specifically asked if he would commit to support federal funding for Planned Parenthood, Heller responded: “Yeah, we’ll continue to look at this issue,” before adding: “I will protect Planned Parenthood.” Then he clarified further that “states have a right to make the determination” of funding.

Sen. Heller’s waffling over federal funding for Planned Parenthood should be completely unacceptable to a majority of the voters in Nevada who elected him based in part on his pro-life promises. His comments contradict the clear position given by his official spokesman just four months ago: “Sen. Heller does not support federal funding for Planned Parenthood” and instead supports funding community health care centers that “provide comprehensive care for women.” In 2015, Heller also criticized Planned Parenthood over the Center for Medical Progress videos exposing its selling of the body parts of aborted babies: “I’ve seen the films just like everybody else. The comments that were made, I think it’s beyond the pale that these are the activities of Planned Parenthood.” Heller’s new position is especially confusing since less than two weeks ago, Heller served as a key vote in legislation to overturn an Obama-era rule that prevented states from defunding Planned Parenthood from federal Title X family planning funds.

Heller’s flip-flopping also goes against his numerous votes over the past two years to defund Planned Parenthood at the federal level. In 2015, Heller voted for the reconciliation bill to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood for one year, and he voted twice against harmful amendments that would have restored funding for Planned Parenthood in the bill. In 2015, Heller also voted to proceed to a vote to permanently prohibit federal funding to Planned Parenthood and again for a government funding bill that defunded Planned Parenthood for one year. Even when he was a House member in 2011, Heller voted for the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood.

Recent polling has shown that 56 percent of voters in various Senate battleground states want to see Planned Parenthood defunded, and 61 percent of Americans nationwide oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. Sen. Heller should remain true to his word and defund Planned Parenthood. Next time, he should use the opportunity at a town hall to expose Planned Parenthood for the many controversies and investigations involving the trafficking and sale of baby body parts, abortion quotas, failure to report statutory rape, agreement to commit race and sex-selective abortions, filing for false claims and potential fraud involving millions of dollars, and others.

Call Sen. Dean Heller at 202-224-6244, especially if you live in Nevada, and tell him to defend mothers and their babies, not Planned Parenthood. It’s time to end the forced partnership between the American taxpayers and the abortion industry.

UPDATE: Sen. Heller’s staff have provided a statement regarding his remarks:

Senator Heller has worked hard to improve women’s access to health care and the quality of care they receive. While he doesn’t have a problem with many of the health care services Planned Parenthood offers to women, he is opposed to providing federal funding to any organization that performs abortions and is supported by taxpayers’ dollars; he has a long record that reflects his position.

Originally published here.

Elections Have Consequences for Schools and Courts, Too

The end — for now — of a lawsuit over locker room and restroom policies in a Minnesota school has shown again the consequences of electing a new president last September. Our friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom on Thursday voluntarily withdrew a lawsuit they had filed on behalf of Privacy Matters, a group of parents and students who objected to a transgender locker room and restroom policy that had been adopted by a school district in the town of Virginia, Minnesota. The Departments of Education and Justice and the local school district were all defendants in the lawsuit filed last September.

The suit was triggered by actions involving a biologically male student who identifies as a transgender female. From 2014 to 2016, the school district had provided this student with accommodations to meet his needs for restroom and changing facilities while also protecting the privacy of other students. But in February 2016 — under pressure created by Obama administration policy’s threatening federal funding — the school district granted the transgender student unlimited access to girls’ locker rooms and restrooms. Students distressed at the prospect of sharing private facilities with someone of the opposite sex, along with their parents, filed suit.

But the Trump administration has withdrawn the Obama guidelines, and ADF now reports that “the school has taken steps to protect our clients’ privacy.” ADF attorney Matt Sharp told FRC that the school has promised to designate at least one locker room for biological females only, and not to penalize students who use that facility in any way. Dealing with the issue of transgender students on a case-by-case basis at the local level is far better than having the federal government impose a one-size-fits-all solution on the entire country that takes no account of the privacy rights of most students.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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